The cost of flying abroad could be significantly cheaper this year, thanks to plans to cut Air Passenger Duty (APD) in half by the end of 2020.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is facing pressure to halve the charges in the Budget, which could slash the price of a plane ticket by up to £90 per person - saving families of four £360 on the cost of their holiday.
At the moment, passengers are charged APD on all flights from the UK, with the rate currently at £13 for a short haul economy flight, rising to £172 for a long haul trip in business or first class. Tourists also have to pay the tax on return flights home from the UK.
The tax generates £3 billion per year for the Treasury, but ministers are now calling for the fees to be reduced. A total of 42 MPs, including 27 Conservatives and three peers, have written to Mr Sunak to urge him to “take decisive action to cut APD by at least 50 per cent”, the Mail Online reports.
Ministers claim the tax restricts the UK’s economic growth and burdens hardworking families who save hard to pay for their holidays. If the plans go ahead, the maximum fee of £172 per person could be cut by £90 each, meaning passengers will make significant savings on the costs of travel.
Calls to make cuts
Calls to cut ADP have been going on since 2018, when it was found that £6 of every £10 spent on flights was going in tax.
ABTA, the leading association of travel agents and tour operators, called for a reform of the tax earlier this month, which is currently the highest fee for departing flights in Europe. The travel association claims that the high tax has nothing to do with sustainability or so-called ‘greener’ practices, and in fact hinders the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
ADP increased in 2018, rising £75 for long haul economy flights to £78 - an increase of 30 per cent compared to 2010.
In a letter addressed to Chancellor Sunak, MPs said, “Turning to tourism, APD acts as a deterrent to visiting the UK, as overseas visitors have to pay APD on their return flight which adds to their cost of visiting the UK. It also makes the hard earned holidays of UK residents more expensive.
“We believe that it is beyond debate that APD is not working at any level and that it is essential that you take decisive action to cut APD by at least 50 per cent in your upcoming budget.”